Terrorist Organization Profile:
|Harakat al-Muqawammah al-Islammiyya, Islamic Resistance Movement|
|Israel, West Bank/Gaza|
|Greater than 1,000 members|
|Iran (state-sponsored); Donations (especially through Islamic charities); Remittances from Arab expatriates; Commercial enterprises (sewing and weaving centers and cattle farms)|
|Hamas is a violent outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni, Islamist, religious movement that originated in Egypt and seeks broad social, moral, and political reforms based upon Islam. From the late 1960s, Hamas' founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, was actively involved in non-violent Muslim Brotherhood activities in the Palestinian Territories, including preaching, education, and charity work. In 1973, Yassin established al-Mujamma' al-Islami (Islamic Center), an umbrella organization overseeing Muslim Brotherhood activities in the Gaza Strip. By the early 1980s, Yassin's ideology had begun to radicalize with Yassin more openly espousing violence against Israel.
After the outbreak of the first Palestinian intifada in December 1987, Hamas was established as the political arm for Muslim Brotherhood activities and Hamas members began actively promoting the uprising. In August 1988, Hamas released its official charter. Hamas is dedicated to creating an Islamic state in the territory of "Palestine" (all of Israel and Palestinian Territories). According to Hamas' charter, the land of Palestine has been endowed to Islam, and it is therefore the duty of all Muslims to liberate Palestine through violent jihad.
|Hamas remains zealously dedicated to its violent, Islamist goals and seeks to destroy Israel and replace the Palestinian Authority with an Islamic state. While Hamas and the Palestinian Authority/PLO do cooperate occasionally, Hamas has generally presented itself as an Islamic counterweight to Arafat's secular government. Hamas has violently opposed any political compromises with Israel and has frequently used suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israel to derail the peace process.
As part of its Islamist ideology, Hamas maintains an active network of social services within the Palestinian Territories. Hamas' substantial financial support has enabled it to provide social services, such as education, health care, and recreation services that the Palestinian Authority has been unable to provide. This social work has substantially increased popular support for Hamas, drawing political support away from the Palestinian Authority. Hamas has been able to leverage its popular support into increased support for its terrorist activities.
- al-Zahhar, Mahmud
- Elashyi, Ihsan
- Ghousheh, Ibrahim
- Hanud, Mahmud Abu
- Marzuq, Musa Abu
- Rantisi, 'Abd al-Aziz
- Shanab, Ismail Abu
- Shihada, Salah
- Yassin, Sheikh Ahmed
- Abu al-Rish Brigades -- Ally
- al-Fatah -- Rival and Ally
- Asbat al-Ansar -- Rival and Ally
- Black Panthers (West Bank/Gaza) -- Ally
- Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) -- Rival and Ally
- Hezbollah -- Ally
- Jenin Martyr's Brigade -- Faction
- Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) -- Rival and Ally
- Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) -- Ally
- Popular Resistance Committees -- Shared Members
U.S. Government Designations
|Yes (in 2005)|
Learn more about these U.S. Department of State classifications:
Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL)
Other Governments' Designations